United States Chef
I like cooking and eating foods from all over the world. [The additional pix, by the way, remind me of funny packaging and foods I've seen on my travels.] For me, a key part of the process is planning meals. I really enjoy collecting, comparing and trying new recipes. When deciding whether or not a new recipe is worth saving, I check to see that the ingredients look tasty and that the recipe doesn't include an ingredient or tool that I'll rarely use. I make an effort to cook things that are light and healthy and don't cost too much. As I read the recipe, I visualize myself preparing it--to make sure that it does not have any steps that are so much of a pain that I'll be unlikely to make it. If the recipe makes the cut, I date it and file it in a specific category, so I can find it easily later. Sounds a little complicated, but it actually makes cooking on a daily basis simpler and more economical. When planning the week's meals, I just see what's fresh and on special at the market, go to my files and make my shopping list.
I'm lucky that my husband and son are also adventurous eaters with no aversion to leftovers. And they like to cook too!
The person who first exposed me to the joys of cooking and eating gourmet food was the mother of my childhood best friend. I remember marvelling at the variety and (at the time to me) exotic ingredients that she would unload from bag after bag of her grocery shopping. She always had an enormous bowl of fresh fruits and a fridge stuffed with fresh vegetables. I would rave to my friend Nancy about her mother's cooking and Nancy would always say "She's just following recipes!" Nancy and my after-school snacks were memorable--we would make homemade pizza or pasta tossed with butter, baby shrimp and parmesan cheese. Another favorite snack was Dreyer's cookies 'n cream ice cream or Stouffer's mac and cheese--no cooking involved with those. Over the years, I too 'just follow recipes', though experience has taught me things like when something looks ripe, done, or needs a little more salt. In the spirit of this website, I'm looking forward to more cooking, eating, and sharing!